A 4-H member in western La Plata County dreams of one day being an Olympic athlete. Cole Crawford of the Mountain Shadows 4-H club is working on that dream through his dedicated participation in the 4-H shooting sports program.
His hard work is paying off. Cole just learned he will be representing the Colorado State 4-H Shooting Sports Team at the national 4-H competition next year.
The 4-H shooting sports program can be very much like any other sport kids might participate in. It takes strength and endurance, both physically and emotionally. A great shooter must be healthy in mind and body and willing to commit to constant training. Training ranges from weightlifting and healthy eating, to target practice and to learning to use multiple pieces of equipment. 4-H shooting sports members are truly athletes, and great athletes are always training.
The goals and objectives of the 4-H shooting sports program are consistent with the overall 4-H program. However, because of the nature of the program, an extra emphasis on safety cannot be mentioned enough. All of our volunteers and coaches who want to participate in the project must complete a 4-H specific instructor’s training and stay active annually to keep their status. The intensive training focuses on safety and how to promote positive youth development by being strong role models.
Here are a few of the main objectives from the National 4-H Shooting Sports Program:
To enhance development of self-concept, character and personal growth through safe, educational and socially acceptable involvement in a shooting activity.
To teach safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment, including sound decision-making, self-discipline and concentration.
To promote the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship and ethical behavior.
To strengthen families through participation in life-long recreational activities.
Cole and his family are meeting these objectives. Cole’s parents, Penny and Bruce Crawford, are certified instructors and have been active in organizing local and state events with other 4-H families. The program has helped their community by establishing strong youth-adult partnerships where young people and adults are enabled to be productive members of society.
Cole, when asked what he has learned from the program, said, “I have learned responsibility, good sportsmanship, confidence, respect, adaptability, commitment and the importance of living healthy and making good choices.” Furthermore, when asked if he considers using drugs, alcohol or tobacco at his age, his answer is very strongly, “Shooting sports is my career. I don’t want any of that messing it up.”
The national 4-H event will be held in Grand Island, Neb., in June. The event will include more than 800 4-H members from all over the country. The kids compete in three different events in their discipline, placing as individuals and teams. Shooters must also be prepared for a mix of weather conditions as the entire competition is held outdoors.
Cole will be doing some fundraising activities before the event to offset the traveling costs. If you would like to donate to Cole’s opportunity, please contact me at the Extension office.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.